Mommy Mavens

MEET YOUR GUIDES: NJ Moms Guide founders Kate Motz, left, and Christina Castro.

MEET YOUR GUIDES: NJ Moms Guide founders Kate Motz, left, and Christina Castro.


MEET YOUR GUIDES: NJ Moms Guide founders Kate Motz, left, and Christina Castro.


FAMILY FUN: The mom webpreneurs break away from their computers to enjoy a playdate with their kids. Castro, left, with her daughters Isabella, 2, and Julianna, 5, and Motz with her sons Tyler, 3, and Kyle, 6, and daughter Hailey, 5.

When Kate Motz moved to Westfield from California in 2005, she was pregnant with her first child, so she joined a moms’ group to make new friends. “I joined the board and found myself quickly becoming the go-to person for information like what doctor and what school,” says the 36-year-old mother of three. A friend from the group suggested that Motz should write a book or start a magazine or website to share her tips. “I thought, What a great idea! A website would be fun,” she says.

In the summer of 2009, Motz, a former financial advisor, launched westfieldmomstown.com, a virtual hub for local moms to connect with each other and find information on schools and businesses. “Getting information in the area was a bit difficult,” she says. “I didn’t like having to go to 10 different websites to find what I needed.”

As the site gained popularity, Motz considered hosting special events like pre-school fairs and child-safety seminars to be more interactive with her audience. “After back-to-back success and wonderful feedback, I knew that events had to be a part of my business,” she says. But she knew she couldn’t do it alone. In the spring of 2010, a friend introduced her to Christina Castro, a 32-year-old mother of two from Union with a background in event planning and marketing. “It was like we had known each other forever,” Motz laughs. “We had the same ideas.”

The ladies were often approached at school by fellow moms, inquiring about events and resources outside Westfield. “Of course they existed,” Castro says. “But in order to post that, we felt we really needed to launch a new site, one that targeted all mothers in New Jersey.” In the fall of 2010, they did just that. With New Jersey Moms Guide (njmomsguide.com), Motz and Castro aim to be a comprehensive resource for New Jersey trendsetting moms. The site, which claims more than 10,000 unique visitors a month, offers viewers information on education, health and wellness, baby milestones and monthly workshops, along with giveaways, tips and discounts from local businesses.

While Motz and Castro admit that a mom’s world revolves around her children, they want this site to be as much about mom, too. “Our focus is on mom,” Castro stresses. “Yes, we provide information like fun daytrips for the kids in New Jersey, but we’re also a place for moms to learn about wellness and how to take care of themselves.”

Another feature is Moms in Business, a social network Motz and Castro started for stay-at-home mothers with entrepreneurial aspirations. “We help them learn how to run a business successfully,” Castro explains. “Because sometimes you know how to start a business, but you need help growing it and promoting it so that it’s lucrative.” Moms who become Moms in Business members have access to monthly workshops with expert speakers, networking events and discounts to promote their ventures.

The site’s most popular feature, and the one the mom webpreneurs are most proud of, is the events and workshops section. Motz and Castro strive to host at least one workshop or event a month, whether it’s presenting a police officer to talk to parents about cyberbullying and monitoring their children’s online activity, or hosting a wellness expo to offer mothers a night of pampering. “These workshops give moms an opportunity to meet speakers and specialists who will give them tips to take care of their kids and themselves,” Castro explains. “It’s also about a night away from the kids, a little time to get away and pamper yourself.”

After each event, Motz and Castro create a follow-up guide on the site, offering additional resources along with photos and video of the evening. “It’s kind of our thank you to guests for being a part of the event,” says Motz, who now lives in Mountainside. “It’s also a nice way to promote the businesses that were there and a way for those who couldn’t attend to catch-up on what they missed.”

The next njmomsguide.com event, a preschool and enrichment fair, will give parents an opportunity to learn about the programs offered by schools in their town. In addition to representatives from more than 50 preschools and nurseries, there will be music, dance, gymnastics, art and cooking schools present to promote their after-school activities and classes. The fair will be held on two separate days, January 12 from 6:30 to 9 pm at L’Affaire Fine Catering in Mountainside and January 17 from 7 to 9 pm at Creative Kids in Livingston.

Shopping Guide

This back-to-school season, don’t shop ’til you drop. The ladies of njmomsguide.com already did the homework, and the legwork. Their favorite local spots:

School Supplies:
Staples Copy & Print Shop
Staples store or staples.com
Clothing:
Little One & Co.
1 Highland Place
Maplewood
973-763-7070; littleoneandco.com
Shoes:
Little Shoebox
602 Valley Road
Upper Montclair
973-744-3007; little-shoebox.com
Salon:
Jack and Jill Salon
115 Miln Street
Cranford
908-272-2200; jackandjillsalon.com


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About this article


Author: Issue: Sep/Oct 2011
Credits: Photographed by Sandra Nissen; Hair: MACKENZIE MORRIS, from Zoku Salon; Makeup: JULIE KOOYENGA, The Studio @ Zoku
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